The Most Common Car Accident Injuries

A closer look at some of the injuries that occur most often in car accidents.

Car accidents can cause any number of  different injuries, to virtually any part of your body, depending on the circumstances of the crash and the severity of the impact. But  if you take a closer look at the range  of insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits  related to auto accidents, you'll see that certain injuries crop up more than others. This article  discusses the most common car accident injuries.

Brain and Head Injuries - In a car accident, one of the most common injuries suffered by  drivers and passengers is a closed head injury, which can  range from a mild concussion to a  traumatic brain injury (TBI). Even when there is no  physical sign of trauma (i.e. cuts or bruises), the brain is at risk of being jostled inside the skull  because of  the impact of a car crash, so that bruising and other injuries can result.    

Neck Injuries - Another common form of injury from a car accident is neck injuries, which can  occur in  more mild forms such as whiplash  and neck strain, but also as more serious  injuries like  cervical radiculopathy and  disc injury.

back pain after car accident

Back Injuries - The impact of a car accident and the resulting torque on the bodies of drivers and passengers can cause back injuries such as a sprain, strain, fracture, disc injury, thoracic spine injury, lumbar radiculopathy, and lumbar spine injury. Like neck injuries, sometimes the symptoms of even the most serious back injuries can take some time to show up after an accident,  and just as  often a back injury can  cause longlasting pain and discomfort.    

Face Injuries - In a car accident, injuries to the face can be caused by almost anything -- including  a steering wheel, dashboard, airbag, windshield, side window,  car seats or shattered glass.  These injuries range in severity from  scrapes and  bruises, to laceration and  fractures, even Temporomandibular disorders of the jaw (TMJ) and serious  dental injuries.

Psychological Injuries - Injuries caused by car accidents aren't limited to the physical. Especially after serious car accidents involving severe injuries and even loss of life, drivers and passengers may suffer short or long-term psychological injuries such as emotional distress, and may even  develop conditions that closely  resemble post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD after a car accident.

Questions and Answers  About Car Accident Injuries

Q: Is there always a direct relationship between the severity of the car accident and the seriousness of the injury?

A: No. Major accidents usually cause major injuries and minor car accidents often result in little or no injury. But you've probably heard about car crashes where a car was totaled but the driver (miraculously) walked away unharmed. And, you have also probably heard about the opposite situation, where a relatively minor car accident  resulted in  major injuries that caused a lifetime of problems for the driver or passenger.

Q: Are all car accident injuries obvious right away?

A: Many are, of course. But some are not.  As a result of the trauma of the car accident, your body reflexively produces hormones called endorphins, which  act as  painkillers. Because of the  excitement of the accident and the production of endorphins, you might not know right away that you have been injured.

Q: So what should you do if you suspect that have been injured in a car accident?

A: The first thing you should  do is get medical attention --  which means treatment  for injuries you suspect you have,  and also  a precautionary examination for injuries that may not be so obvious -- even if it was a fairly low speed impact or a small damage collision. For more information, check out these steps to take after a car accident.

Updated by:  , J.D.

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